Europhys. Lett.
Volume 73, Number 2, January 2006
Page(s) 292 - 298
Section Interdisciplinary physics and related areas of science and technology
Published online 14 December 2005
Europhys. Lett., 73 (2), pp. 292-298 (2006)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2005-10379-4

Pulling adsorbed polymers from surfaces with the AFM: stick vs. slip, peeling vs. gliding

A. Serr and R.R. Netz

Physics Department, TU Munich - 85748 Garching, Germany

received 13 June 2005; accepted in final form 17 November 2005
published online 14 December 2005

We consider the response of an adsorbed polymer that is pulled by an AFM within a simple geometric framework. We separately consider the cases of i) fixed polymer-surface contact point, ii) sticky case where the contact point is mobile and the polymer is peeled off from the substrate, and iii) slippery case where the polymer glides over the surface. The resultant behavior depends on the values of the surface friction coefficient and the adsorption strength, which can be extracted from non-equilibrium force-spectroscopic data.

82.37.Gk - STM and AFM manipulations of a single molecule.
62.25.+g - Mechanical properties of nanoscale materials.
82.35.Gh - Polymers on surfaces; adhesion.

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